Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




This thesis is an intellectual history that examines the identity development of the Bosnian Serbs at the turn of the twentieth century. It argues that during Austria- Hungary’s peacetime occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1878 to 1914, an increasing number of Bosnian Serb intellectuals gradually developed a collectivist, multiethnic approach to group identity that was flexible enough to have produced a “Serb,” a “Bosnian,” and a “Yugoslav” consciousness. Born out of a concern for their ethnic community’s social, cultural, and political survival as a newly incorporated group in the vast multi-national Empire of Austria-Hungary, these intellectuals believed that the optimal solution was to align themselves with those ethnic groups with whom they had the most in common. These included the South Slavs living in Bosnia and in the neighbouring lands of Serbia, Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Macedonia. The idea of multi-ethnic “groupness” as a conscious choice, as a constructed language and ideology, therefore, forms an important part of this thesis. Although the intellectuals drew from certain “raw materials” (e.g. language, culture, and history) which they molded into potentially-binding groupings, they were also influenced by their circumstances under foreign rule as well as the national and pan-national ideologies of the age. And while this study does not bestow absolute privilege on the “Serb,” the “Bosnian,” and the “Yugoslav” components of their multi-ethnic identity, it shows their broader influence and, therefore, sets this work apart from studies that have often stressed the impact of Serb national ideologies on the Bosnian Serbs to the exclusion of the others.



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